Posts Tagged: kids activities

How To: Make Paper Flowers!

By Aryn Henning Nichols

In my adult life I’ve often found myself grateful to my crafty mother for teaching me her crafty ways. While my siblings and I complained during 4-H Fair Time as we cut out patterns and sewed our own dresses, skirts, etc., re-covered old chairs and learned to use cameras, I’ve found these things to be incredibly useful – and fun – in real life. (Thanks, Mom!) There’s another crafty thing my mom taught me that I’ve also used again and again to impress friends and hosts: the homemade paper bow. For the Spring 2011 issue of Inspire(d) (pictured above), I adapted it to be a paper flower for May Day Baskets. I find it is charming like this, but remember – as you’re wrapping your next present, don’t forget your scrap paper bits! You can make a super cool bow too! Leave it as one layer (like the flowers shown), or make more bow “flowers” to stick on top of the first (starting with smaller and smaller squares) to add more dimension.

Whatever your plan, here’s how you start!

Supplies:
Wrapping (or any other) paper
Scissors
Tape
Straw or stick (only needed if you’re making a flower)

1. Cut your piece of paper into a square .

2. Fold the bottom corner up to the top, making a triangle.

3. Fold the left corner to the right, making a smaller triangle (imagine you’re making a paper snowflake…)

4. Fold one more time. Keep the inside tip down (this is the center of the flower).

5. Cut the end of the triangle, rounding it off.

6. Cut all the seams up to about half an inch to an inch from the center. Do not cut all the way or your flower will fall apart.

7. Open the flower – it should look like this!

8. Get eight pieces of tape ready to go.

9. Flip over the flower and bring each petal’s ends together. Tape.

10. Cut a small strip of paper and make into a roll. Tape, then roll a piece of tape, sticky side out, and attach it to the paper roll.

11. Attach to your flower (or bow).

12. If you’re using as a flower, attach a stick or a straw, like we did here. Enjoy and Happy May Day!

P.S. Here’s the template for our May Day Baskets! Click for the printable pdf.

may-day-cone

Science, You’re Super: Bird Migration

Geese

By Aryn Henning Nichols • Photo by Joyce Meyer Photography
Originally published in the Fall 2012 Inspire(d)

It’s a familiar fall scene: you hear the honking first, then see the v-shaped flock fly over – geese heading to some exotic locale for the winter. It’s obvious why “snow birds” – ironically human – head to warmer climes to avoid the frigid Northern winters, but what about these birds? Why do they migrate back and forth each year, and how do they even know where they’re going?

Approximately 1,800 of the world’s 10,000 bird species take this annual, large-scale movement between their breeding or nesting (summer) homes to their non-breeding (winter) homes each year. (1) Like many things in life, food is the main motivating factor. Birds that nest in the northern hemisphere hang out in the spring to take advantage of the plentiful insect populations, budding plants, and large quantity of places to set up “nest”. As winter sets in and the availability of insects and other food options declines, the birds head south – simple as that. (2) Many of these birds that breed in North America migrate to areas south of the Tropic of Cancer (Southern Mexico, Central and South America and the Lesser and Greater Antilles in the Caribbean Sea) in the fall (August-October) and then winter there until April when they head back to their old stomping grounds up North to breed and raise young. (3)

There are three different types of bird migration: short (moving from a higher to lower elevation on a mountainside), medium (moving a distance that spans several states) and long-distance (generally moving from the northern hemisphere to the southern hemisphere). For short-distance migrants, the reason really is as simple as a need for available food. But the origins of long-distance migration are a little more complicated. What “tips” the birds off that it’s time to get moving varies – days getting shorter and colder, dwindling food supplies, or it even something in their genetic predisposition. (2)

In the period before migration, many birds display higher activity or Zugunruhe – German for “migratory restlessness”. Even cage-raised birds with no environmental cues (e.g. shortening of day and falling temperature) show signs of Zugunruhe, further leading scientists to believe migratory tendencies might be genetically predisposed. (1)

Birds also eat more food pre-migration, storing it as fat. Fat is normally three to five percent of the bird’s mass, but some will almost double their body weights as they pack it on for the trip! The ruby-throated hummingbird, for example, weighs only 4.8 grams but can use stored fat to fuel a non-stop, 24-hour flight across a 600-mile stretch of open water from the U.S. Gulf coast to the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico! But most songbirds don’t fly to their non-breeding grounds non-stop. They stop a number of times to rest and feed in places called stopover sites. Some birds stop only one day to rest and feed, and then continue their migration. Others will remain at stopover areas for weeks, storing up more fat. The arctic tern may hold the longest distance migration, made possible because they stop over various places to eat fish and feed along the way. The tern migrates about 18,600 miles each year! Amazing! (3)

It’s not just the distance traveled that is amazing, though – the “how” of the travel is pretty wild too. They don’t come equipped with GPS, but somehow migrating birds can cover thousands of miles, often on the same exact “bird highway”, year after year. Even first year birds may migrate – without a guide – to a winter home they have never before seen and return in the spring to their birth land. (2) They use the age-old compasses in the sky to navigate the way – the sun and stars – and also something really cool: the Earth’s magnetic field! Yes, you read that right! Birds apparently have tiny grains of the mineral magnetite just above their nostrils, which helps them find what direction is true north by using the Earth’s magnetic field.

Beyond that, day flyers navigate using the positions of the sun and night flyers find their way by following the patterns of the stars. And – get this: In their very first year of life, those birds memorize the position of the constellations in relation to the North Star! Some birds can also use their sense of small to help find the way. (3)

Many, if not most, birds migrate in flocks, which for larger birds, can conserve energy. Geese save from 12 to 20 percent of the energy they would need to fly alone – and some even fly faster in flock formation! (1)

In the spring, we’ll see them heading back up the “road” home, and now, when you gaze up at the first honk, know it might even be the same exact birds you saw this fall!

——————————————-

Aryn Henning Nichols was constantly amazed as she researched this Science, You’re Super. How cool are migrating birds?!?

References:

  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bird_migration
  2. http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/studying/migration/
  3. http://www.zoosociety.org/conservation/bwb-asf/library/BirdMigrationFacts.php

 

November 2015 Calendar

November! Get a head start on your fun-planning with this handy-dandy November 2015 calendar (and you can download the pdf here). Enjoy! XO, Inspire(d)

Nov15_Calendar

LOOKING FOR MORE DETAILS ABOUT EVENTS ON THE CALENDARS?
Check out these great fall activities!  In chronological order, each event’s number coincides with its number on the calendar!

24: November 5: “Taste of the Holidays” food pantry fundraiser/holiday meal at the Co-op. Register by calling563-382-4666. $15 suggested donation. New take-away option available this year. www.oneotacoop.com

25. November 7: Swingsation! LANESBORO ARTS’ Gala Fundraiser: Scrumptious tapas food, lively music featuring blues & more, art & other auctions, cash bar, fun ambiance. $65. www.lanesboroarts.org.

26. November 13: Poetry Slam presented by ArtHaus, Sponsored by Dragonfly Books. Doors open at 7:30pm, event starts at 8pm. Decorah Elks Lodge. $5 adults / $3 student admission. www.arthausdecorah.org

27. November 14: Compassion Calligraphy Workshop with Daishin McCabe at ArtHaus. 1-3pm. $50 per person open to ages 16+, Register online at www.arthausdecorah.org

28. November 21: Harmony Holiday Fest! Get a jump start on holiday shopping with 40+ vendors showcasing a variety of arts, crafts, foods, & more! Fillmore Central High School Harmony, MN www.exploreharmony.com

29. November 26: Earn your 2nd piece of pie on the Decorah Bicycles 2nd Annual Cranksgiving Ride! Casual & No-drop Mountain Bike Ride – starts from Decorah Bicycles (College Drive next to Whippy Dip) 2pm. Fat bike rentals available. www.decorahbicycles.com

30. November 28: ElfFest begins at The Rustic Corner! Beat the big box and enjoy small town shopping at it’s best in Charles City. Details: www.FaceBook.com/TheRusticCorner

31. November 28: Gena Ollendieck Art opening, 1pm – 3pm at Agora Arts in Downtown Decorah. Come experience American Craft and this unique art opening! www.agoraarts.com

Coming Up:

32. December 16: Wednesday Wine Down at The Rustic Corner in Charles City 4pm-8pm! Wine & holiday snacks to help you unwind from the hustle. More info www.FaceBook.com/TheRusticCorner